One thing to remember, it’s a bad idea to start a weekly wrestling column the week you’re going away all weekend. So let’s call this “Last Week in Wrestling” and we’ll just talk about WWE this week.
On RAW there was a new GM. The catch is he or she in anonymous. They send instructions via e-mail to Michael Cole. This is a good short-term idea. Who knows who the GM is? WWE may not even have decided yet. Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are candidates; but I hold out the faintest of hope they’ve rehired Paul Heyman.
This new GM hired all the NXT guys. At the end of the show they beat down John Cena during his rematch with Sheamus, then beat down Vince McMahon, who the new GM had appointed special guest enforcer. They call themselves Nexus and it’s my fervent hope they are in the pocket of the new GM. In wrestling there are rare performers who can be “tweeners”, neither face nor heel they will fight anyone any time using an array of tactics. They rarely succeed. But maybe a whole tweener faction would be a new idea. And kudos to Justin Gabriel having the cajones to hit a 450 Splash on Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Botch that move even slightly and your career is over.
Which brings me to Bret Hart. He is legit off screen. One rumor is his insurance from Lloyd’s of London was not happy with the physicality he’d been involved in lately. Other word is he’s about to get married and just wanted time off. Since then Owen Hart’s widow has sued WWE claiming they have violated agreements not to use the image and name of Owen Hart after they settled the suit. There is no doubt WWE have used Owen’s image. Their stated defense? “WWE has the right to use its own copyrighted material.” Is this WWE vs. WWE all over again?
For those who thought Sheamus had no acting skills he had a great promo this week where he pretended to be remorseful for how he won the championship last week.
There’s an amazing segment where Chris Jericho challenged Evan Bourne with his career on the line. Jericho won, and with the whole game show thing going on there was a chance he could lose, but the match itself was absolutely superb. They are making Evan Bourne into a real contender to hang with the big boys.
Ted Dibiase Jr. fires Virgil in favor of new valet Maryse. Line of the night:
Virgil: What are you going to do for protection?
Dibiase: Go to a drug store!
That’s how you do PG humor. You push as far as you can get without being obvious. There’s a good, for WWE Divas, match between Natalaya Neidhart of the Hart Dynasty and Tamina with the Ousos standing by. Pity the match is interrupted by a NEXUS promo. Orton cut a promo and got cut off by The Miz of all people. The Miz even attacked Orton after cutting his own promo. It looked like Miz might be rising even further up the card… Until it’s Edge who speared Orton to actually take him down.
You may not have noticed, but there was no guest host this week. I didn’t miss it. I’d be happy if they canned the idea now and whenever The Rock can drop by to do a guest appearance they can find an excuse for it then.
I have very little to say about NXT itself because, other than the awesome Kaval/LaCool pairing, it’s not grabbing me very much. With the Season 1 rookies all ending up on RAW this just seems anti-climatic now and I’m kind of wishing they had just canned the show after season 1.
Smackdown started with Teddy Long and Vickie Guererro explaining the new Money in Bank Pay Per View. It seems there will be two 8-man Money in the Bank matches, one for each brand. The resulting title shot can only be used on your own brand.
Drew McIntyre interrupted and Teddy Long finally has the upper hand. Vince McMahon has joined The Undertaker in a vegetative state or something and Long now has complete control of Smackdown. He reinstates Matt Hardy and the two have a pretty good match later which Hardy wins. Long then tells Drew his VISA has expired and he’s being deported. Wow, they’ve really lost faith in this guy. They even make a point of showing Vickie, the other heel authority figure around here, doesn’t like him.
We got a Show vs Swagger match. Swagger drew another DQ after not breaking a hold but proceeded to “injure” Show’s leg. This should allow Swagger a chance to get an actual win over Show at some point. Swagger wrestled a classic WWE heel match. He picks a body part and he takes it apart. Swagger is growing into his role and, now that the title is off him, the pressure will ease up a bit and he can focus on becoming a credible, long term Upper midcarder. Sure he has a rematch at Money in the Bank but I sincerely doubt Mysterio will have a one-month title reign.
There was a poll, real or not I have no clue, of the WWE Divas as to who was the most handsome superstar and Cody Rhodes won. So Cody rebranded himself (a gimmick change in industry terms) as Dashing Cody Rhodes. So shades of Rick Martel. What I want to know is who the hell taught Cody to use a microphone? Because he just improved about 300% in one appearance. Now it looks like he may have been hurt at a weekend show.
Promo for a new Hispanic heel Alberto Del Rio whose gimmick is “the only honest man.” That has potential but seems awfully close to CM Punk’s current gimmick. Speaking of Hispanics, I had all but forgotten Mysterio held the title now.
Our main event is a no-DQ match between CM Punk and Kane. Punk briefly protests innocence before the match. The whole Straight Edge Society gets involved but Kane’s star is rising and he beats all of them down by the end. Punk flees into the night rather than take his punishment but Kane puts Gallows through the announce desk so the fans get a good spot to go home on.
Overall a good Smackdown. I plan to watch it again because the in-ring action is on a better level this week than normal.
Finally, here’s a story I pulled off my favorite wrestling news site Pulse Wrestling, which they summarized from PWInsider.
When Bryan Danielson returned to Chikara [an independent wrestling federation] in Taylor, Michigan. Danielson wrestled Eddie Kingston in a match that was kept mostly low risk and Danielson won with a roll up after a Claudio Castagnoli distraction. Danielson started to come out to the NXT Theme song, but that transitioned to “The Final Countdown” and Danielson seemed moved. Ties were used as streamers when Danielson came out, and Tim Donst, Danielson’s opponent the next night, got good heat and won by using a tie in a sleeper. After the show, Danielson signed autographs and was said to be extremely cordial.
Folks, if you hit a live WWE event anytime soon please contribute to keeping the “Daniel Bryan” chants alive. We got Matt Hardy re-hired. We can do it again.